The national championship game didn’t turn out the way Jaylen Moody hoped, but the Conwayite is excited about having three more seasons to play for the Crimson Tide.
He believes the 44-16 loss to Clemson in the national championship game on Jan. 7 will serve as motivation for the future.
“I wish we could have pulled it out, but we’ll work hard and win it next year,” he said. “I’m pretty upset about losing, but we’ll have a chance to win a couple more while I’m here.”
Moody played in 13 games during his freshman campaign, missing only the Mississippi State game.
“I played in pretty much every game,” he said.
Moody earned special teams player of the week accolades from the Alabama coaching staff in consecutive weeks for his play against Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns and at Arkansas.
He recorded his first career tackle on special teams against Louisiana, and played a key role on kickoff coverage to earn special teams player of the week accolades against the Razorbacks.
Moody signed with Alabama this past February after recording 105 total tackles during his senior year with Conway when Coach Carlton Terry often described him as a “ball-seeking missile.”
Moody ended his high school career by participating in the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives North Versus South Bowl in Myrtle Beach. He chose the Tide over Arkansas, Kentucky and Ole Miss because of the school’s solid academic program as well as its winning tradition. He is majoring in marketing and business at Bama.
“I’m very happy with the decision I made,” he said. “Besides losing to Clemson, I think I had a good season.”
Although he has been at Alabama for less than a year, Moody has already become enthralled with the aura and mystique that Alabama commands.
“I thank God for putting me in this place,” he said. “This is a special place and it takes a special person to be here. It really is a beautiful place. It’s special. It’s such a blessing.”
Moody is especially grateful to people like Conway defensive line coach Brian Mabry and others who played key roles in helping him achieve his goals. He also mentions the support of his parents, the Rev. and Mrs. Greg Moody Sr.
“I thank everyone for their support and for sticking by me,” he said. “I want everyone to know I’m very thankful for their support.”
In addition to being a member of the kickoff, kickoff return and punt return teams, Moody mans an inside linebacker position for the Alabama defense. He anticipates having a much more extensive role during his sophomore campaign.
Despite the loss to Clemson, Moody said playing for the national championship was a good experience. The most memorable game of the season, he said, was a 29-0 victory over LSU in Baton Rouge, La.
“We all played well in every aspect of the game,” he said. “Everyone came together.”
Moody is excited about the team’s future. He believes the team has the talent to compete for SEC and national championships on an annual basis.
“I believe we have a lot of good leadership,” he said. “We have guys who will push each other in practice. We have to play as a team. It’s important to have one goal and one mindset.”
Included on Alabama’s 2019 schedule is a Sept. 14 date against South Carolina at Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia.
“I’ve let most of my teammates know that’s where I’m from,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
The game will pit Moody against former Conway teammate Bryan Edwards, who announced this past week that he will return to USC for his senior season.
“I’ve already talked with Bryan,” Moody said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him. We’re excited about getting to play against each other.”
Moody enjoys coming home whenever he can.
“I was home three days for Christmas break,” he said. “I’ll be here for spring break. I’ll be home about the whole month of May.”
Moody’s twin brother Juwan is a redshirt freshman at East Carolina. His older brother Mykal recently graduated from S.C. State. His oldest brother Greg Moody Jr. works with the basketball program at Conway High School along with the family’s patriarch. All four of the bothers played basketball during their careers at CHS.